Leaders Need Boundaries – Boundaries For Leaders Book Review

I don’t know about you but I cringe every time I hear the word boundaries. As a leader, I always thought boundaries prevented me from doing what needed to be done. Boundaries felt like a cage, restrictive and something that held me back.

However, as I read through Dr. Henry Cloud’s new book Boundaries For Leaders, I realized I’ve been wrong. Leaders need boundaries. The key is learning how to define the boundaries.

Cover image for Boundaries For Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud

Boundaries For Leaders Cover

Dr. Cloud is probably best known for the book Boundaries, that he co-authored with John Townsend. In Boundaries, Cloud and Townsend shared how everyone needs to have certain boundaries:

Physical Boundaries

Emotional Boundaries

Mental Boundaries

Spiritual Boundaries

The boundaries discussed in that book are fantastic and make a valid case for why we need them. However, they weren’t written in a way that directly related to leaders. This is where Boundaries For Leaders come into play.

Dr. Cloud uses the idea that a boundary is: A boundary is a structure that determines what will exist and what will not. Now, when I think of a boundary in those terms, it makes the idea of them much more palatable. Do you agree?

My Thoughts On Boundaries For Leaders

Boundaries For Leaders has begun shifting my thoughts on the ideas of boundaries. It opened me up to a new way of thinking of what boundaries are and how they can be applied to leadership, and our lives.

Dr. Cloud has done his research and paid his dues to learn about boundaries. He’s consulted with multiple companies who had high ranking executives who needed to set new boundaries. Without them, they were floundering. When they began to apply boundaries, they began to flourish. Dr. Cloud uses many of these examples in this book. I felt it brought out the ideas and showed why they worked.

Because of Boundaries For Leaders, I will begin shifting towards a leadership style that involves boundaries. This will help guide those under me and keep me in check.

What Boundaries For Leaders Will Teach You

In Boundaries For Leaders, you will discover 7 boundaries all leaders should have for effective leadership. They’ll set you up for success and a smoother running organization. These 7 boundaries will show you how to:

Help people focus their attention on the things that matter most

Build the emotional climate that drives brain functioning

Facilitate connections that boost energy and momentum

Create organizational thought patterns that limit negativity and helplessness

Identify paths for people to take control of the activities that drive results

Create high-performance teams organized around the behaviors that drive results

Lead yourself in a manner that protects the vision

As I typed those 7 seven, I couldn’t help but realize just how important they are to effective leadership. They’re not limiting in the least. No, in fact, they are freeing.

Who Could Use Boundaries For Leaders?

I think the real question is: Who couldn’t use Boundaries For Leaders? It’s a book that clearly communicates the need for boundaries within leadership and what you must do to create them.

But if I had to choose a group that could use Boundaries For Leaders the most, I’d have to say it would be young leaders who are just stepping into their leadership roles. Young leaders will benefit from the years of experience Dr. Cloud has under his belt and that he shares within the book.

It’s nice to be able to use his book to recognize the leadership traps that other leaders have fallen into because they didn’t have the boundaries they needed. Young leaders could apply these boundaries to their leadership and propel their leadership to the next level.

Where Can You Purchase Boundaries For Leaders?

Check your local bookstore to purchase Boundaries For Leaders. Supporting the small, local shop is a great way to help them succeed.

My second choice for purchasing Boundaries For Leaders would have to be Amazon. They provide the fastest shipping I’ve seen and their price is right.

If you want to purchase Boundaries For Leaders from Amazon, click here. As of this writing, they have it for $19.88, 31% off of the list price.

Question: What do you think setting boundaries could do for your leadership? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great thoughts, Joe! In a Strengthsfinder experience for men recently, we discussed boundaries vs. obstacles. Obstacles hinder us in the way you and I used to think of boundaries. Boundaries, as you point out, show us those constructed guidelines for what is possible and what will not be made possible.

    • Justin, I’m glad you’ve learned to look at boundaries in a more positive light as well. The distinction your group made between boundaries and obstacles is great.

      How have you had boundaries improve your leadership skills or life?

      • A lot of boundaries in my life were not instituted by myself! I used to view, for example, my geographic location as an obstacle. If only I lived in a more metropolitan area or closer to D.C. (or any other center of “power”) I could be so influential! But my wife’s family business and our desire for solid roots for our children prevent us from moving. This boundary controls for certain character flaws in me and forces me to stretch myself where (and when!) I am.

        • I feel you about geographic location. I sometimes lament the fact I’m not in Nashville, Atlanta, or some huge hub like that.

          However, there’s something to be said for living in certain, smaller locations. There’s less competition and it’s easier for you to get noticed. You, and I, have the chance to flourish where we’re at.

          • Exactly, Joe! When we discover that or just let in sink in, our perspective becomes rightly fixed on the good we CAN do rather than the good we THINK WE COULD do elsewhere.

  • Great post Joe. My wife and I were talking about this just the other night. I had been reading the series Ed Stetzer did on boundaries for Pastors. I think he also referenced Dr. Cloud’s book. Boundaries help us set the proper expectations with those we lead. As we lead our church my wife and I need to be sure set clear boundaries and make sure they are clearly communicated and that we live them out consistently. This would have helped us navigate a sticky issue earlier this week. Noticed I said “would have” – Some lessons we learn the hard way.

    • Jon, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you’re able to establish some boundaries and you won’t have to experience that sticky situation again.

  • Thanks for the review. Had never heard of this book before.

    Boundaries are so important- for marriage, our walk with Christ, raising kids, and so on.

    • My pleasure TC. It’s a newer book so that might be why.

  • I’ve had the Boundaries book for a while so I know the quality of Dr. Cloud’s work – I’ll be picking this up soon! Great review Joe!

    • Awesome Jon! I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as you did Boundaries. Have you read his book Integrity? That’s another winner from Dr. Cloud.

      • Joe – you always help grow my reading list, thanks.

        By the way, how are you doing with your annual reading goal? Mine was 24 for this year, but I just hit 37 last week.

        • This year I took a different approach to my reading goals. I wanted to take time to go through books better than I had before. Rather than setting a HIGH number of books to read, I had specific books to read through. It was a rough start and I’m a bit behind but I’ve been focused in my reading, and I think that’s been an advantage this year.

  • Thank you for reading and review this book. This book is on my book list and now I really want to start reading it. Boundaries can allow us to reach our purpose, dreams, and potential because it allows us to say yes to the right things while saying no to the others.

    • Glad the book sounds good to you Dan. It’s an interesting read and can help you see where boundaries are needed. Sometimes it’s a bit shocking.

  • Like a few others mentioned in the comments, I’m slowly making my way through my book log jam to hit this one. I saw him speak at the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast earlier this year and he was probably my favorite speaker there. Thanks for putting this together.

    • Seeing Dr. Cloud speak had to be an amazing experience. He’s a great communicator and knows what he’s talking about.

  • It seems the concept of boundaries has transitioned from being a very restrictive concrete wall to a friendly path to guide and direct. Boundaries are a good thing. Thanks for reading and sharing it, Mr. Joe.